As a commercial cleaner, you should be constantly aware of your competition. After all, you aren’t the only cleaning company out there. Your livelihood and income are dependent on not only keeping your existing clients, but also on attracting new ones. So the question becomes, how do you make your cleaning company more attractive than your competitors when they come sniffing around? And how do you make your company stand out when a prospective client is looking for a cleaning company?
The answer is that you have to do something to make yourself stand out. This is easier said than done, of course. There is no shortcut to success in any entrepreneurial business. But we have gathered together six tips to help you discover a way to make your cleaning company stand out from the competition.
1. Pricing and Value
Of course, the most obvious way to stand out from other companies is in your pricing. However, you can’t price yourself so low that you aren’t able to pay your employees or make a living. Instead, focus on the value that you bring to your customers.
Do you have a way to test the efficacy of your cleaning methods? There are systems that test for ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which are present in all living creatures, especially bacteria. You can use this testing to prove that your company guarantees a certain level of cleanliness, which is something that your competitors may not be able to provide.
Maybe you provide a full 30-day money back guarantee on your cleaning services, or you have a method of ensuring that your customer is only billed for hours when your employees are on site. Whatever it is, these sorts of things allow your company to provide a guaranteed return on your customer’s investments, which means that your cleaning company’s perceived value goes through the roof.
2. Customer Service
In this competitive world, one sure fire way of making your business stand out is by having a superlative customer service model. If a client contacts you with a concern, how quickly do you respond? In a service-oriented industry like this, being able to provide superior and responsive customer service will make up for many initial missteps.
Another part of customer service as a commercial cleaner is being able to handle the immediate needs of your clients and responding well to them. Has there been a huge snowstorm? You’ll need to be on the spot with equipment to clean up spills and salt. Being able to respond to weather-related incidents or other emergencies is a great way to add perceived value to your company. Remember, it’s often the little touches that you don’t consider to be a huge deal that make you – and your company – excel in the eyes of others.
3. Find Your Niche
Having a niche is a great way to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. By this, we mean having an angle that nobody else has. For example, you might decide to only use “green cleaning” supplies. Becoming an environmentally responsible and friendly cleaning company can generate a lot of positive buzz with existing and new clientele. Perhaps you donate a percentage of your profits to a local charity, or sponsor a youth sports team. These are all examples of niches that you and your company can fit into to help draw a distinction between you and your competition.
Of course, it goes without saying that if you claim a niche, you have the responsibility to follow through. It’s not worth the damage to your reputation if you are found using non-environmentally friendly products while claiming to be a green company.
4. Invest in Your Employees
Let’s face it. You aren’t doing all the cleaning yourself. Your employees are. And if your employees are happy and taken care of, then they will be willing to go that extra mile for you and your clients. Investing in them goes beyond paying a fair wage or offering benefits, although those are extremely good ways to foster employee loyalty.
Personal training for new employees is a great way to get to know them and ensure that they know what is expected. On top of new employee training, refresher training for current employees is also valuable. And don’t forget; just because you’re running a commercial cleaning company doesn’t mean that your employees won’t benefit from annual reviews to let them know how they’re doing.
There’s an old adage when it comes to dealing with your employees. You’re going to get about 60% percent of them who will do the job satisfactorily but need to be pushed to go above and beyond. Roughly 10% will do the job to the bare minimum of requirements, and 5% won’t cut it at all. The remaining 25% of your employees will rise to the occasion and perform like rock stars.
When it comes to how much time you spend with them, unfortunately, often, we spend too much time with the bottom tier, trying to get them to move up and become better employees. Instead, you should invest most of your time with the top 30% of your employees. Encouraging the ones who are already stellar performers and helping the best of the satisfactory become rock stars. The ones who fail to perform should be counseled and given the opportunity to improve, but if they don’t, then they need to go. Holding on to a bad employee only hurts you and your business.
5. Invest in Yourself
Don’t forget that you’re the head of your company. You should also be at the top of your game. That means attending conferences centered on commercial cleaners and rubbing elbows with your competition. Learn how they are separating themselves from you and adopt the things that you see as beneficial. There’s no such thing as bad knowledge.
Additionally, you should be abreast of the latest changes in cleaning technologies. Is there a new and cheaper way to remove gum from the underside of tables? What about new backpack vacuums that can help your workers clean more efficiently? These are the kinds of things that you should be aware of so that you can make the smart business decisions about adopting them.
6. Ask for and Listen to Feedback
In the end, there’s no substitute for honest feedback. Once a year, or even once every six months, include a short survey in with your billing statement. Or just give it directly to your clients. The answers that your clients give will help you shape your company, so it’s important to ask the right questions. Here are a few that you should definitely include in your survey.
How likely are you to recommend us to a colleague? Why or why not?
Is there anything we can do to improve our service?
Is there anything that makes our service stand out in your eyes?
It’s especially important that when you get your surveys back that you pay attention to what they are saying. Often times a company neglects to look at their business from their customer’s point of view. This feedback will help your company grow and become even more desirable to other clients in the future.